Update on Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships Update

Gemma Gosden

08 February 2017

In the run up to National apprenticeship week 2017 6-10 March 2017 we have had a look at what’s going on in the world of apprenticeships to give you a heads up on upcoming changes.

What is an Apprenticeship?

Not such a stupid question for those of you out there afraid to ask. They’ve been around in the UK literally centuries under various different guises.

It’s basically a method of training on the job. You work the job and earn money for doing it but at the same time you’re studying for a related qualification. Win win right?


The Government introduced the ‘Modern Apprenticeship’ in 1994. This was reviewed in 2012 called the Richards Review of Apprenticeships. The report called for more focus, definition and validation of individual frameworks.

It was concluded that the ‘Apprenticeship Standards’ would replace all existing frameworks by 2017 including the methods used to fund the national apprenticeship scheme.

How Does it work?

You can apply while at school with no qualifications. You need to be 16 or over, living in the UK and not in full time education.

Check out the Apprenticeships guide for more details.

You have to find a suitable apprenticeship and submit your application. There are various companies out there who can help you with this such as National Careers Service & Get in Go Far.

Remember, it’s like applying for a job so you have to make sure you put 100% into your application!

You have a choice of thousands of potential employers currently offering apprenticeships. Anything from small start ups to multi-national, multi-million pound corporations. There is even a top 100 apprenticeship employers list if you really want to go for the best of the best.

You’re paid a national minimum wage approx. £3.30 per hr for anyone under 19 but some employers offer more.

There are loads of different ‘levels’ of apprenticeship depending on your existing qualifications. If you have none, you may be asked to complete something like a functional skills qualification in English and Maths to make sure you have all the basics covered.

After completing your apprenticeship you could continue onto further education education if you wanted to.

The Institute for Apprenticeships

Has been created and from April 2017 will be the governing body controlling the framework levels. It will be their responsibility to keep improving standards.

The Apprenticeship Levy

To help fund the whole thing the Government have introduced ‘The Apprenticeship Levy’ starting April 2017.

This is basically a tax on all UK employers with a payroll bill of £3 million or more per year. HMRC will add extra on top of the PAYE (National Insurance) amount each month from May 2017 to a total of approx £15,000 per year.

They hope this will help to pay for up to three million apprentices in the UK by 2020. They also hope this will help support major service industries such as the NHS and police forces across the country.

The Enterprise Act 2016

Provided the Secretary of State with the power to set targets for apprenticeships in all public bodies in England to ensure they contribute towards national targets.

All public sector employees with at least 250 employees in England will have to employ apprentices of 2.3% of their total staff each year. Introduced to ensure the target of 3 million new apprentices is hit by 2020.

This has received a great deal of criticism as it included state schools who already have a stretched budget.

Current Stats

Published by the UK Government in November 2016 basic current stats are as follows:

  • Since 1996, the numbers of people starting apprenticeships has risen from just under 100,000 to just over 500,000 per year.
  • Since apprenticeships were made available to people over 24 they have taken the lead in the numbers of starters growing from 49,000 in 2009 to 224,000 last year. (44%)
  • The under 19’s have gone from 117,000 in 2009 to 131,000 last year (26%)
  • 19-24 year olds have gone from 114,000 to 154,000 (30%)
  • The most popular sector to do an apprenticeship is Business, Admin & Law, closely followed by health & public sector. Least popular is Science and maths. In fact under 500 people started an apprenticeship in science and maths for every academic year since 2009.
  • Since 2009, 139,000 women have started an apprenticeship compared with 269,000 last year.
  • Since 2009, 141,000 men have started an apprenticeship compared with 241,000 last year.
  • For those who actually complete what they started numbers also appear to have risen from 50,000 in 2002 to 250,000 in 2015.

So generally speaking it looks as though the scheme is working although numbers haven’t grown as quickly as hoped and only half actually finish it.

National Apprenticeship Week 2017

If you’re interested and want to see what’s on offer check out the website to find a handy online map of all events in the country.

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Other posts you might be interested in:

Getting Ready for Work

Why is it so Hard to Choose a Career?

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